There might have been some nervousness for Keith Mixon before he became president of TCGA last year. But those nerves went away quickly, and now he looks back with a sense of accomplishment in reviewing 2009.
It was a memorable year for Texas cotton no matter which sector of the industry was examined. That made for a very interesting experience for Mixon as he led TCGA.
For openers, there was the implementing of the 2008 Farm Bill and understanding the various components of the new law. That was no easy task. Then, there was the weather, which resulted in a drought in south Texas that virtually eliminated any chance of a cotton crop in that region.
“Even with the losses in south Texas, I think overall the cotton crop turned out bigger than we initially thought,” says Mixon. “Because of the spotty rains we had in the High Plains, it was a mixed bag. But, again, it could’ve been worse and was better than we anticipated.”
The good news, according to Mixon, is that soil moisture levels across Texas are much improved this year – especially in the southern part of the state, which desperately needed pre-season rainfall.
Another key accomplishment during Mixon’s year as president occurred in the area of labor issues. TCGA won a favorable ruling with the Labor Department over how the overtime exemption is supposed to be interpreted. After TCGA hired noted labor attorney Ann Margaret Pointer, the organization was able to present an impressive case.
“That was an important win for us,” says Mixon. “In the final analysis, the ruling showed that our interpretation was correct. As far as I’m concerned, this was a home run for TCGA. We proved our case in an impressive way.”
There were other memorable moments during Mixon’s tenure as president. He was particularly impressed at how TCGA continues to create important alliances with other groups in an effort to achieve common goals. Along that line, he is confident that TCGA, working with other cotton organizations, can continue to protect the 2008 Farm Bill despite attacks from critics.
“We have to keep working with our friends in Congress and the industry,” he says. “We’ve been successful at that for a long time, and we just can’t become complacent.”
As for a final message Mixon would like to convey as his year as TCGA president nears an end, he wants to encourage young people who might be considering a career in cotton or ginning.
He was excited about having two young college interns working at TCGA gins this past year. It was a good experience for all parties, and Mixon believes there are opportunities for other young people looking for jobs.
“It gives me a lot of hope about the future when I see young folks excited about working for one of our gins,” he says. “We have about seven or eight gin managers in the state who are about to retire, and we need young people to move into our industry.”
All it takes to start a career is an opportunity, as Mixon sees it. With any luck, one of those young people could follow in his footsteps and become TCGA president someday.
|This material is the intellectual property of One Grower Publishing and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Information received through this website may be displayed and/or printed for your personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce or retransmit the materials, in whole or in part, in any manner, without the prior written consent of One Grower Publishing. Any reproduction of this material, without One Grower Publishing's prior written consent, is strictly prohibited and will be punished according to the laws in effect.